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Tag: AQAP (page 2)

Yemen Terror Scare

The news is filled with a terror scare today from two packages with explosives headed to synagogues in the U.S from Yemen. President Obama says it sounds like al Qaida Arab Peninsula. (AQAP.) The Guardian reports cleric Anwar al-Awlaki may be behind it.

I'm just getting to the news so I don't have any thoughts on it yet. Here's a thread to discuss it.

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Yemen Military Launches Attack on Al Qaeda

CNN reports 1,000 Yemen military and security forces have launched an attack in the Shabwa province of Yemen, believed to be home to al Qaeda members, including Muslim Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, but they say he is not the only target.

Last week, there were other raids. They didn't kill any al Qaeda members, just a 65 year old man and two women. From the Yemen Observer:

Yemeni warplanes launched strikes in the Modia district of Abyan province on Tuesday, targeting locations believed to be home to al-Qaeda commander Abdul Munem al-Fahtani, according to the defense ministry website.

“The raids at Thaooba area, Modia district, killed a 65-year-old man and two women. No al-Qaeda members were killed,” a security official told Yemen Observer on a condition of anonymity.

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AQAP Pledges Support for al-Awlaki, Threatens U.S.

Abu Baseer al-Wahishi, the leader of al Qaida Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), released a tape today through the group's media arm, al-Malahem, expressing support for cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who is in hiding after President Obama placed him on a "capture or kill" list. The U.S. suspects al-Awlaki of providing spiritual guidance to suspected Fort Hood shooter, Nidal Malik Hasan, and the Christmas Day airplane bomber, Umar Farouk

He also threatened attacks against the United States if al-Awlaki was harmed. And speaking about Abmudullatab, al-Wahayshi says on the tape:

"That was a failure but tell me, what will success be like...It will inevitably be a disaster for you (Americans), for we are enamored with the attacks of September 11."

The tape was an open letter to the American public. [More...]

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AQAP Releases Statement on One Year Anniversary of Formation

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing today on Yemen and Al Qaeda Arabian Peninsula. Here is the written testimony of Gregory Johnson (pdf) who also writes the blog Waq al Waq. On pages 17 to 23, he accurately outlines the formation,activities and events related to AQAP this year. He concludes the section with:

[T]he US and Yemen seem more prepared to fight the enemy al-Qaeda was rather than the one that it has become.

It was one year ago today that Al Qaeda Arabian Peninsula announced its formation. Today, it released a statement (English translation)congratulating itself on its achievements during the past 12 months, and honoring its members who died during suicide missions. Some snippets: [More...]

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Yemen Retracts Claim of Capture of AQAP Deputy Leader Saeed al Shehri

Update: The Yemen Observer retracts: it confused Saeed with his brother Yousef, who was captured. But Yousef was killed in October, this makes no sense. Another version of Yousef's death here.

The Yemen Observer reports AQAP deputy leader al Shehri has been captured:

A car carrying members of al-Qaeda was turned over when attempted to bypass a newly established sudden checkpoint by the Yemeni security units today and resulted in the capture of Saeed al-Shehri, the second person in command of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, security source told the Yemen Observer. The car was going in a high speed and was carrying al-Shehri and other al-Qaeda militants and flipped over in the district of Sylan in Shabwah near the borders of Marib province. All the militants were captured.

Saeed al Shehri is the former Guantanamo detainee who went through the Saudi rehabilitation program and emerged as the group's Deputy Leader in the video announcement of AQAP. (Leader #1 is Nasir al-Wuhayshi. More on the top leaders here.))

Is the news report valid? AQAP is now saying Yemen did not kill Qassim al Raymi this week as previously claimed: [More...]

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Captain Underpants vs. Professor Poopy-Pants?

Marc Lynch has a new post at Foreign Policy, Don't Let Captain Underpants Bring Back the GWOT, on the mass over-hysteria about Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and his failed bomb plot on the flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.

But is too much to ask that the national discourse over the failed bomber be more mature and analytical than "Captain Underpants vs Professor Poopypants "?

Lynch cites with approval this WAPO op-ed, "Don't Panic, Fear is Al Qaida's Real Goal," which is well-worth a read. He also correctly notes: [More...]

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Froomkin on the Faulty Claims Re: Recidivist Gitmo Detainees

Dan Froomkin weighs in on the faulty claims perpetuated by the media that 1 in 7 released Guantanamo detainees have returned to the battlefield.

Here's the Pentagon's April 7 report entitled "Fact Sheet: Former Guantanamo Detainee Terrorism Trends" (which they uploaded as "return to the fight.") As we've reported before, the report has been debunked and criticized by a study directed by Seton Hall Law Professor Mark Denbeaux.

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The Top Bad Guys in AQAP in Yemen

David Kenner at Foreign Policy presents the top 4 bad guys in AQAP in Yemen with photos: there's the group's leader, Nasir al-Wuhayshi, cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, former Guantanamo detainee Said al-Shehri (who was released into the Saudi Rehab program but left), Qasim al-Raymi and Hizam Mujali.

Gregory Johnson at Waq al-Waq says:

I think 'Adil al-'Abab, Ibrahim al-Rubaysh and Muhammad al-Rashad are much more important than Anwar al-'Awlaqi and Hizam Mujali. But there is little argument on the top three: Nasir al-Wahayshi, Said Ali al-Shihri and Qasimal-Raymi.

Johnson says al-Raymi is "the single most dangerous individual in the organization." While he was never at Gitmo, his brother is.

I also like this November, 2009 Australian think-tank study on the importance of AQAP's relationship with the tribes in Yemen.[More...]

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More Primers on AQAP

As al Qaida Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) continues to dominate the news, more news organizations are coming out with primers. Here's one from The New Republic.

A major point that needs to be made more is that this is an off-shoot of the central al Qaida associated with Osama bin Laden.

AQAP represents what many consider Yemen's second generation of Al Qaeda--and while the group may have ties to "Al Qaeda central," the organization appears to act independently. Counterterrorism officials believe AQAP has learned from its recent past and built an organization that can withstand the loss of its leadership. Savvy in delivering its message, the group even has its own magazine, Salah al Malahim (The Echo of Battle), which covers everything from biographies of suicide bombers to advice columns on how to become an Al Qaeda foot soldier.

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U.S. and U.K. Close Yemen Embassies

The U.S. and U.K. closed their embassies in Yemen due to threats by al Qaida Arabian Peninsula (AQAP.)

The embassy statement is here.

Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan told ABC's This Morning:

“I spoke with our ambassador in Sana, Steve Seche, early this morning and last night, looked at the intelligence that is available as far as the plans for al Qaeda to carry out attacks in Sana, possibly against our embassy, possibly against U.S. personnel,” Mr. Brennan said. “We decided it was the prudent thing to do to shut the embassy.”

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Changing Theories on the AQAP Failed IED Attack on Saudi Prince

Experts are now questioning prior accounts of the August 28, 2009 failed IED assassination attempt by a suicide bomber on Saudi prince Prince Mohammed bin Nayef.

AQAP quickly claimed control of the attack. It was believed that the suicide bomber, Abdullah Hassan Taleh al-Asiri, had hidden the bomb in his anal cavity, and that it was activated by remote control cell phone signals. Here's a pretty good Stratford account.

The video above, which shows a happy al-Asiri describing the attempt ahead of time, also contains the cell phone call that occurred during al-Asiri's meeting with the prince 14 seconds before the bomb went off (killing only al-Asiri), and explains the then widely-accepted version of how it went down. [More...]

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AQAP and Terrorism Related Events in Yemen and Saudi Arabia

It's not easy learning about events that have been going on for some time in another country. Here is a chronological account of al Qaida Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and other terror-related events in Yemen and Saudi Arabia I've compiled from the update section of the last ten issues of The Sentinel published this year. The Sentinel is the publication of The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. I'm mostly posting it as a reference point since I've been trying to get up to speed and want the information in one place, and the easiest way to do that is to post it.

The list includes events from from December, 2008 through November, 2009. [More...]

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Obama Directly Blames AQAP in Yemen For Detroit Attack

Even though Al Qaeda Arabian Peninsula, an off-shoot of the central al Qaeda took responsibility last week for the failed Detroit plane attack of Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, today was the first time that President Obama directly accused the group. In his radio address, he said:

"We know that [Mr Abdulmutallab] travelled to Yemen, a country grappling with crushing poverty and deadly insurgencies," said Mr Obama, who is on holiday in Hawaii.

"It appears that he joined an affiliate of al-Qaeda, and that this group, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, trained him, equipped him with those explosives and directed him to attack that plane headed for America."

Obama also discussed the U.S. planned response: [More...]

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UK to Host International Summit on Yemen, U.S. to Attend

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown today announced a global summit on aid to Yemen to assist the country in eliminating the increasing number of radical extremists and al Qaida members who have moved there, in hopes of making it their next safe haven.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will attend.

Mr Brown will spend the next few days attempting to persuade Saudi Arabia, which borders Yemen, and other Gulf states to join forces with Britain and the US.

Brussels has expressed strong support for the initiative. The Prime Minister hopes that, between them, they can provide enough aid to offer Yemenis an alternative to radical Islam ....Mr Brown said yesterday: “The international community must not deny Yemen the support it needs to tackle extremism.”

This is welcome news. [More...]

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Abdulmutallab : Keeping Focus As The Story Changes

There's so much anonymous source material being touted in news articles, it's difficult to ascertain who's got the details right.

ABC News now has a different version of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's father's reasons for contacting authorities regarding his son. Now, it's an alarming last phone call he made to his father.

ABC News' sources said that during Abdulmutallab's final call, he told his father the call would be his last contact with the family. He said that the people he was with in Yemen were about to destroy his SIM card, rendering his phone unusable.

And, the father went to Nigerian intelligence authorities who promptly took him to the CIA. [More...]

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